1666, 2nd September – Great Fire of London, England

On 2nd September 1666, a great fire broke out in the city of London.
It began at Thomas Farynor’s bakery, the baker of King Charles II. For four days the fire got out of control and resulted in the destruction of a third of the city of London.
With a reality of destruction of 13,000 houses, 87 churches, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Stock Exchange, and Royal Palace.
The fire proved devastating because there were no firemen acting in an organized way and when it was to pay damages there was no insurance.
The State limited itself to creating the Fire Court to arbitrate conflicts between people, benefiting the richest and advising the underprivileged to go and live outside the city.
Nicholas Barbon economist and doctor had the notion of the business opportunity and created a company called Fire Office (1667), to insure the risk of fire on real estate. The genesis of the modern insurance industry was launched.
Fire Office (1667) created the first fire insurance plates (now fire branch) that were offered to those who contracted fire risk. The fire insurance plates were placed above the entrance door to the insured property, identifying which insurance company and even marking the policy number.
At the time, there were no fire brigades in London, so each British insurer hired a set of boatmen (brigade) who, in their daily routine, made the crossing of people and goods between the two banks of the River Thames. In case of fire, the insurance company was identified by the insurance plate and the boatmen, paid by that insurance company, were called to put out the fire.


Picture extracted from “blog da arquitetura”
Model made during London’s Burning festival, reproducing the Great Fire of London